PMA Spring 2003 Show
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Pentax's Optio 550 digital camera. Courtesy of Pentax, with modifications by Michael R. Tomkins. Pentax announces the Optio 450 & 550
By Michael R. Tomkins, The Imaging Resource
(Tuesday, February 18, 2003 - 10:00 EST)

Pentax USA has today announced two new compact digicams that boast quite an impressive feature set.

The two cameras are very similar barring the resolution - 4.13 megapixels for the Optio 450, and 5.25 megapixels for the Optio 550. They both have smc Pentax 5x optical zoom lenses using 5-point hybrid autofocus systems (coupling contrast detection with a passive AF sensor). There's also Multi-segment, center-weighted or spot metering, ISO ratings to 400, Aperture and Shutter Priority AE, Metered Manual, shutter speeds from 1/4000 to 4 seconds and a QuickTime movie mode. Some other features include SD / MMC storage, 16MB of built-in memory, a panorama assist mode, built-in "digital filters" and the unusual 3D image function seen on past Pentax cameras which allows you to capture two images in a row and combine them for use with the provided viewer.

Pentax's Optio 450 and 550 digital cameras. Courtesy of Pentax, with modifications by Michael R. Tomkins. Click for a bigger picture!

Pricing and availability for the cameras has not been announced at this time. Full specifications and the official press release follow below.

Pentax Optio 450
Pentax's Optio 450 digital camera. Courtesy of Pentax, with modifications by Michael R. Tomkins. Click for a bigger picture!
Camera
Type Compact-type digital still camera with built-in zoom lens, autofocus, auto exposure and auto flash
Effective Pixels
4.0 megapixels
Image Capture Device
Type 1/1.8 inch interline transfer CCD with a primary color filter
Total Pixels 4.13 megapixels
Color Depth 10 bit x 3 colors
Recorded Pixels
Still - 2288 x 1712 pixels, 1600 x 1200 pixels,1024 x 768 pixels, 640 x 480 pixels
Movie – 320 x 240
Focus System
Type Hybrid AF (TTL contrast detection autofocus system combined with exo-passive sensor)
Autofocus 5 point AF, Spot AF & Infinity Landscape Mode
Manual Focus 5.9 inches (0.15m) to Infinity
Focusing Range
Normal: 1.97ft (0.6m) to Infinity
Macro: 5.9 inches (0.15m) to 2.13ft (0.65m)
Super Macro: 0.79 inches (0.02m) to 2.13ft (0.65m) at 7.8mm
Lens
Type smc PENTAX power zoom
Focal Length 7.8mm - 39mm
35mm Equivalent 37.5mm - 187.5mm
Aperture Range f2.8 - f4.6
Construction 9 elements in 7 groups (two dual-sided aspherical elements)
Optical Zoom 5X
Digital Zoom 4X
Combined 20X
Exposure Control
Light Metering Method TTL metering with choice of: Multi-segment, Center-weighted & Spot meter
Sensitivity Auto, or user select ISO 100, 200, 400
Exposure Control Method Program AE
Exposure Modes Metered manual, Aperture-priority AE, Shutter-priority AE, Program, Picture, Panorama assist, Movie, 3D image, Digital filters, User
Exposure Compensation +/-2 EV (1/3 steps)
Shutter
Type - Programmed AE electronic lens shutter with CCD electronic shutter
Approx. 1/4000 - 4 seconds(1/1000 in Metered manual and Shutter-priority AE)
White Balance
White Balance Control - TTL Auto, Pre-set, Custom White Balance
Auto, Daylight, Shade, Tungsten Light, Fluorescent Light (W, N, D), Manual
Flash
Built-in series-control auto flash, Auto discharge under low light and backlit conditions in auto mode
Operation Modes Auto, Flash-Off, Flash-On, Auto + red-eye reduction, Flash-On + red-eye reduction
Range approx. 1.31ft(0.4m) – 17ft (5.2m) (7.8mm at ISO auto)
approx. 0.49ft( 0.15m) – 10.5ft(3.2m) (39mm at ISO auto)
Shooting Specifications
Shooting Modes Metered manual, Aperture-priority AE, Shutter-priority AE, Program, Picture, Panorama assist, Movie, 3D image, Digital filters, User
Picture Modes Landscape, Night scene, Flower, Portrait, Surf & Snow, Autumn color, Sunset, Fireworks, Text
Digital Filter Black & White, Sepia, Red, Pink, Yellow, Green, Blue, Purple, Soft
Drive Modes Single-Shot, Continuous, Self-timer-10 sec. Remote control, Interval timer, Multiple exposure
Movie Mode One second to 10 minutes (SD memory card)
Time
Modes dd/mm/yy, mm/dd/yy, yy/mm/dd
World Time Display of the time in 62 cities (28 time zones)
Alarm Clock Displays image (three memory settings), Snooze function
Image Storage
Storage Media
Built-in: Approx. 16MB
Removable: Secure Digital (SD), Multimedia card (MMC)
File Formats
Still JPEG (Exif 2.2), DCF (Design rule for Camera File system), DPOF (Digital Print Order Format)
Movie MOV (QuickTime Movie Format) 15 fps with sound
Voice WAV (ADPCM) Recordable time depends on the remaining capacity of the memory card
JPEG Compression Mode Tiff, Good, Better, Best
Recorded pixels with 16 MB built-in memory
Best
Better
Good
2288 x 1712
TBD
1600 x 1200
TBD
1024 x 768
TBD
640 x 480
TBD
Viewfinder
Optical Actual image zoom viewfinder with diopter adjustment from approx. -3m -1 to+1 -1
LCD Monitor 1.5 inch, low temperature Polysilicon TFT color LCD with Histogram Display
LCD Coverage 100%
Playback Specifications
Playback Modes File Single, Index, Nine image
Magnification 8X
Playback Mode Slide Show, Scroll and Voice Memo available
Erasing Specifications
Erase Modes Single, All
Image Protect Single, All
Interfaces
Type AV output terminal, USB terminal, DC input terminal
Video output Compatible with NTSC and PAL formats (monaural sound)
Power Supply
Power Source Lithium-ion battery (rechargeable) approx.400 shots with one charge(According to in house PENTAX testing), AC adaptor kit (optional)
Physical Specifications
Operating temperatures 32°– 104°F (0 – 40° Celsius)
Camera Casing Aluminum Alloy
Dimensions (W x H x D) 3.9 x 2.3 x 1.6 Inches (100 x 59 x 39.5mm)
Weight
7.2 oz (205g) without battery and memory card
8.8 oz (250g) loaded and ready
Computer System Requirements
Mac Requirements OS: Mac OS 8.6 or later (QuickTime 4.0 or later to view movies), CPU: Power PC 266MHz or higher, Memory: 8MB or more, Hard disk space:6MB or more, Standard equipped USB port
PC Requirements OS: Windows 98,98 second edition, 2000, Me, XP Home edition / Professional, CPU: Pentium or later recommended, Memory:64MB or more, Hard disk space: 15MB or more, Standard equipped USB port
Kit Inclusions
Optio 450 Camera
Rechargeable Lithium-ion Battery
AV Cable
USB Cable
3D Image viewer
Software (CD ROM) – ACDSee, USB Driver
Strap
Operating manual
Serial number card
Product registration card
Service network directory
.

 

Pentax Optio 550
Pentax's Optio 550 digital camera. Courtesy of Pentax, with modifications by Michael R. Tomkins. Click for a bigger picture!
Camera
Type Compact-type digital still camera with built-in zoom lens, autofocus, auto exposure and auto flash
Effective Pixels
5.0 megapixels
Image Capture Device
Type 1/1.8 inch interline transfer CCD with a primary color filter
Total Pixels 5.25 megapixels
Color Depth 12 bit x 3 colors
Recorded Pixels
Still - 2592 x 1944 pixels, 2048 x 1536 pixels, 1600 x 1200 pixels, 1024 x 768 pixels, 640 x 480 pixels
Movie – 320 x 240
Focus System
Type Hybrid AF (TTL contrast detection autofocus system combined with exo-passive sensor)
Autofocus 5 point AF, Spot AF & Infinity Landscape Mode
Manual Focus 5.9 inches (0.15m) to Infinity
Focusing Range
Normal: 1.97ft (0.6m) to Infinity
Macro: 5.9 inches (0.15m) to 2.13ft (0.65m)
Super Macro: 0.79 inches (0.02m) to 2.13ft (0.65m) at 7.8mm
Lens
Type smc PENTAX power zoom
Focal Length 7.8mm - 39mm
35mm Equivalent 37.5mm - 187.5mm
Aperture Range f2.8 - f4.6
Construction 9 elements in 7 groups (two dual-sided aspherical elements)
Optical Zoom 5X
Digital Zoom 4X
Combined 20X
Exposure Control
Light Metering Method TTL metering with choice of: Multi-segment, Center-weighted & Spot meter
Sensitivity Auto, or user select ISO 64, 100, 200, 400
Exposure Control Method Program AE
Exposure Modes Metered manual, Aperture-priority AE, Shutter-priority AE, Program, Picture, Panorama assist, Movie, 3D image, Digital filters, User
Exposure Compensation +/-2 EV (1/3 steps)
Shutter
Type - Programmed AE electronic lens shutter with CCD electronic shutter
Approx. 1/4000 - 4 seconds (1/1000 in Metered manual and Shutter-priority AE)
White Balance
White Balance Control - TTL Auto, Pre-set, Custom White Balance
Auto, Daylight, Shade, Tungsten Light, Fluorescent Light (W, N, D), Manual
Flash
Built-in series-control auto flash, Auto discharge under low light and backlit conditions in auto mode
Operation Modes Auto, Flash-Off, Flash-On, Auto + red-eye reduction, Flash-On + red-eye reduction
Range approx. 1.31ft(0.4m) – 17ft (5.2m) (7.8mm at ISO auto)
approx. 0.49ft( 0.15m) – 10.5ft(3.2m) (39mm at ISO auto)
Shooting Specifications
Shooting Modes Metered manual, Aperture-priority AE, Shutter-priority AE, Program, Picture, Panorama assist, Movie, 3D image, Digital filters, User
Picture Modes Landscape, Night scene, Flower, Portrait, Surf & Snow, Autumn color, Sunset, Fireworks, Text
Digital Filter Black & White, Sepia, Red, Pink, Yellow, Green, Blue, Purple, Soft
Drive Modes Single-Shot, Continuous, Self-timer-10 sec. Remote control, Interval timer, Multiple exposure
Movie Mode One second to 10 minutes (SD memory card)
Time
Modes dd/mm/yy, mm/dd/yy, yy/mm/dd
World Time Display of the time in 62 cities (28 time zones)
Alarm Clock Displays image (three memory settings), Snooze function
Image Storage
Storage Media
Built-in: Approx. 16MB
Removable: Secure Digital (SD), Multimedia card (MMC)
File Formats
Still JPEG (Exif 2.2), DCF (Design rule for Camera File system), DPOF (Digital Print Order Format)
Movie MOV (QuickTime Movie Format) 15 fps with sound
Voice WAV (ADPCM) Recordable time depends on the remaining capacity of the memory card
JPEG Compression Mode Tiff, Good, Better, Best
Recorded pixels with 16 MB built-in memory
Best
Better
Good
2592 x 1944
4
8 16
2048 x 1536
7
12 18
1600 x 1200
11
20 27
1024 x 768
25
45 56
640 x 480
53
82 100
Viewfinder
Optical Actual image zoom viewfinder with diopter adjustment from approx. -3m -1 to+1 -1
LCD Monitor 1.5 inch, low temperature Polysilicon TFT color LCD with Histogram Display
LCD Coverage 100%
Playback Specifications
Playback Modes File Single, Index, Nine image
Magnification 8X
Playback Mode Slide Show, Scroll and Voice Memo available
Erasing Specifications
Erase Modes Single, All
Image Protect Single, All
Interfaces
Type AV output terminal, USB terminal, DC input terminal
Video output Compatible with NTSC and PAL formats (monaural sound)
Power Supply
Power Source Lithium-ion battery (rechargeable) approx.400 shots with one charge (According to in house PENTAX testing), AC adaptor kit (optional)
Physical Specifications
Operating temperatures 32°– 104°F (0 – 40° Celsius)
Camera Casing Aluminum Alloy
Dimensions (W x H x D) 3.9 x 2.3 x 1.6 Inches (100 x 59 x 39.5mm)
Weight
7.2 oz (205g) without battery and memory card
8.8 oz (250g) loaded and ready
Computer System Requirements
Mac Requirements OS: Mac OS 8.6 or later (QuickTime 4.0 or later to view movies), CPU: Power PC 266MHz or higher, Memory: 8MB or more, Hard disk space:6MB or more, Standard equipped USB port
PC Requirements OS: Windows 98,98 second edition, 2000, Me, XP Home edition / Professional, CPU: Pentium or later recommended, Memory:64MB or more, Hard disk space: 15MB or more, Standard equipped USB port
Kit Inclusions
Optio 550 Camera
Rechargeable Lithium-ion Battery
AV Cable
USB Cable
3D Image viewer
Software (CD ROM) – ACDSee, USB Driver
Strap
Operating manual
Serial number card
Product registration card
Service network directory
.

Original Source Press Release:

PENTAX DIGITAL CAMERA DUO OFFERS BIG ADVANCEMENTS IN LITTLE:

OPTIO 550 AND OPTIO 450 JOIN PENTAX DIGITAL LINE

ENGLEWOOD, Colorado (February 18, 2003)…PENTAX USA continues to make big advancements in little with the introduction of the new 5 megapixel Optio 550 and the 4 megapixel Optio 450 digital cameras. Both models host a variety of features including a high resolution 1.5 inch LCD monitor, a movie mode that captures up to ten minutes of video with sound, a voice memo recording mode, panorama assist, full manual control and a 5X optical zoom (20X combined).

“This powerful digital duo carries on our PENTAX tradition of providing full-featured, compact, durable, easy-to-use digital cameras,” said PENTAX sales and marketing director Jim Leffel.

PENTAX will debut the two little, but loaded, digital cameras at the Photo Marketing Association’s (PMA) Show from March 2-5 in Las Vegas. PMA hosts an annual trade show where manufacturers in the photography industry showcase their newest products.

PENTAX U.S.A., Inc. is an innovative leader in the production of digital and film cameras, binoculars, lenses, mobile printers, scanners and internet cameras. For more than 80 years, Pentax technology has developed durable, reliable products that meet the needs of consumers and businesses. With corporate headquarters located in Englewood, Colorado, PENTAX U.S.A., INC. is a wholly owned subsidiary of PENTAX CORPORATION.

# # #

Compact, easy-to-use design
Crafted from aluminum alloy with design accents on the lens bases, the Optio 550 and Optio 450 are comfortable to hold and simple to operate. An ultra-compact zoom system that allows the lens to fully retract in two stages helps reduce the size of both cameras A single dial on both new Optio digital cameras offers shooting mode selections with minimal effort including Metered Manual, Shutter-priority AE, Aperture-priority AE, Program, Picture, Movie, Panorama Assist, 3D image, Digital Filter, User and Voice Recording modes with minimal effort. The Optio 550 and Optio 450 also feature standalone buttons for easy access to frequently used shooting and playback functions and handy image deletion and enlargement.

The digital precision of 5.0 and 4.0 effective megapixels
The Optio 550 and the Optio 450 excel at image recording quality with 5.0 and 4.0 effective megapixels respectively so each model will produce high quality, artistic images.

5X optical zooming with an ultra-compact lens
Despite the compact size, both the Optio 550 and 450 feature a high performance 5X optical zoom lens with 4X digital for an impressive 20X combined zoom.

10 minute movie mode
Both the Optio 550 and the Optio 450 are capable of recording up to 10 minutes of video with sound at 15 frames per second with 320 x 240 recorded pixels. For additional convenience, all clips are recorded in MOV format to facilitate simple playback on PCs.*
*System requirements for use of the Movie function: PCs running Windows 98/98SE, or Windows 2000 operating systems which came with Direct X8.0 or higher and Windows Media Player pre-installed. PC running Windows Me or Windows XP operating systems featuring Windows Media Player or QuickTime or higher. Macintosh machines running operating systems, which came with QuickTime 4.0 or higher pre-installed.

Voice recording and voice memo mode
The Optio 550 and Optio 450 each may be used as an audio recorder.* In addition, up to 30 seconds of sound may be added to images.
*Recording time is based on available memory. For example: 128mb = approximately 8 hours.

Time-lapse movie
Time-lapse movie allows you to run a set of sequential recorded frames in order as a short film to create scenes of clouds rushing across the sky with a selection of X2, X5, X10, X20, X50, or X100 recording speeds.

Precise LCD monitor
A high-resolution 1.5-inch low-temperature polysilicon TFT color LCD monitor offers 100% view of the frame, which helps ensure easier, more accurate image composition and allows you to double-check recent shots.

Optical Viewfinder
Both the Optio and the Optio 450 are equipped with a diopter adjustment viewfinder offering actual image zoom to help conserve power when the LCD monitor is off.

Nine-image / Zoom display
Searching time for recorded images is minimized through a function that allows nine images to be displayed on the LCD screen at once. The screen also may display images with up to 8X magnification to make it easy to check for clear focus and inspect details on recorded shots.

Digital filter mode offers creative freedom
The digital filter mode allows the freedom to influence the overall tone of your shot. With choices of black & white and sepia as well as a range of other tones (red, pink, yellow, green, blue and purple), the digital filter mode allows you to add mood to a sunset or tone down subjects that are too bright. The soft filter setting provides a soft focus effect.

Built-in auto flash
Auto flash may be set to discharge automatically when shooting scenes in low-light conditions. For greater control, each model also features Flash-on, Flash-off, and red-eye reduction* modes as well as Slow shutter sync mode for use with Night Scene mode.
*This feature does not eliminate “red eye” in all instances.

A broad range of shooting modes
A selection of ten shooting modes are accessible with just the turn of a dial including Metered Manual, Shutter-priority AE, Aperture-priority AE, Program, Picture, Movie, Panorama Assist, 3D image, Digital Filter, and User modes.

Metered manual gives you the freedom to decide both shutter speed and aperture settings so you can take difficult shots or achieve more creative results.
Shutter-priority AE lets you select the shutter speed to deliver the desired effect and Shutter-priority AE will select the ideal corresponding aperture for your shot so you may create a sense of movement with blurring or to freeze rapid moving objects in time.
Aperture-priority AE provides subtle control over depth of field and exposure. Throw background elements out of focus to add emphasis to a main subject or capture everything up to the horizon with clarity while the camera calculates the optimal shutter speed.
Program mode allows you to take control over a whole range of functions to produce results much closer to the ones you desire.
Picture modes provide optimal results with a settings and subjects: Landscape, Night Scene, Flower, Portrait, Surf & Snow, Autumn Color, Sunset, Fire Works and Text.
Panorama Assist software included with kit creates panorama pictures through the vertical or horizontal combination of multiple pictures on a PC.
3D image creates side-by-side double shots with a real sense of depth when seen through the enclosed special viewer.
Digital Filter mode provides conventional filter capability including black & white, sepia and soft as well as a range of colors (red, pink, yellow, green, blue and purple).
User mode retains any combination of preferred settings easy access in the future.

Additional shooting modes
A variety of additional shooting modes are accessible via drive buttons on the back of the camera including:

Convenient self timer
Both the Optio 550 and the Optio 450 are equipped with a useful self-timer. This can be used to allow you to enter group shots, or to reduce camera shake when making extended exposures.
Optional remote control
Two optional remote control units are available for both the Optio 550 and the Optio 450 . Remote controls E and F offer the convenience of three-second shutter release as well as immediate shutter release.
Continuous shooting captures action scenes by taking multiple shots in quick succession
Interval shooting lets you set the shooting start time, the duration of the interval between shots, and the number of frames, and capture events that take place over an extended period of time such as a flower blooming.
Multiple exposure function allows surreal creativity such as double images in the same shot.
Macro shooting modes allows shots from as close as 5.9 inches (.15m) and super macro mode as close as just .79 inches (.02m)
Infinity-landscape mode is ideal for shooting natural scenery even through glass.
Manual focus enlarges the central part of the frame on the LCD monitor to achieve the sharpest degree of focus possible.
Choice of autofocus
Wide AutoFocus allows greater focal emphasis on your subject, while Spot AF offers a choice of a desired center point of focus selected from five positioned horizontally and vertically.

Histogram display
A detailed histogram display allows you to check light levels with accuracy during both playback and shooting.

White Balance Mode helps achieve excellent results in different kinds of light including Daylight, Shade, Tungsten Light, Fluorescent Light (three different kinds), and Auto to preserve natural colors as well as a Manual setting to experiment with lighting.

Metering options
Both cameras also offer metering freedom with a choice of multi-segment metering, center-weighted metering, and spot metering.

Light sensitivity
Both cameras offer the choice of ISO100, ISO200, ISO400, an auto setting, and the Optio 550 offers the additional versatility of a setting for ISO64.

Exposure compensation
Both cameras are capable of exposure compensation across a range of +2EV in steps of 1/3EV to make it easy to take a set of shots and select your favorite.

Settings for sharpness, saturation, and contrast
For even greater control over the outcome of each shot, the Optio 550 and the Optio 450 allow sharpness, saturation and contrast to be set manually with a choice of three grades for each.

Image protection
Both cameras feature a useful image protection function to guard precious shots against accidental deletion.

Mode memory function
This handy mode saves favored setting combinations for future use.

World time function
This function displays the time accurately in 62 different cities around the world for travelers and records the time and date shots are taken to help make sorting simpler when you return home.

Alarm clock
The cameras will display an image when the alarm sounds, so you can awake to a favorite shot or a schedule reminder. There’s even a snooze function.

Resize
Recorded image data may now be decreased after shooting to lower the number of recorded pixels or the level of quality so you may free up memory space for further shooting.

Trimming
Optio 550 and the Optio 450 will crop images exactly as you desire or store parts of images as individual new files.

Function customization
Four functions can be customized from a selection of eleven and allocated to the four-way controller for simple, convenient access.

Camera customization
Each camera can be customized with a favorite image displayed on the start-up screen and favorite audio sounds to accompany the action of the shutter, start-up, and other operations.

SD memory card / MultiMediaCard
Both the Optio 550 and the Optio 450 are compatible with the widely available SD memory card and MultiMediaCard.

DPOF function
When used in combination with DPOF-compatible printers, this function lets you take control over the number of printouts and the date function.
*Some printers may not support the above functions. Please consult the supplier of your printer for more information. Exif Print (Exif2.2) and PRINT Image Matching II* compatibility

The Optio 550 and the Optio 450 provide even greater quality printouts when connected to Exif-compatible printers. Each of these cameras is also compatible with PRINT Image Matching II. This achieves a higher level of quality through creating a stronger link between the camera and the printer and provides you with a much greater degree of control over the outcome.
*This product supports PRINT Image Matching II. When used in combination, PRINT Image Matching II enabled digital still cameras, printers, and software help photographers to produce images more faithful to their intentions.
Copyright 2001 Seiko Epson Corporation. All Rights Reserved. PRINT Image Matching is a trademark of Seiko Epson Corporation. The PRINT Image Matching logo is a trademark of Seiko Epson Corporation.

AV output terminal included
Recorded images and audio sounds may be viewed on your television by connect the Optio 550 and the Optio 450 with enclosed AV cable.

Power sources
For greater versatility and convenience, the cameras may be powered by an exclusive rechargeable lithium-ion battery or by an optional AC adapter.

USB compatibility *
Digital photography offers the ability to transfer images to PCs, and these cameras make this process as easy as can be through connection to a USB cable, allowing you to import your shots into a wide range of common applications with speed and ease. What’s more, the advantage of USB also means that you can import a number of images simultaneously.
*System requirements: PC running Windows 98/98SE, Windows 2000, Windows Me, Windows XP Home Edition/Professional or Mac OS 9.0 or higher (installation of the included driver software is required, except in the case of Mac 0S 9.0 or higher, Windows Me, Windows 2000 or Windows XP). Compliance with the aforementioned system requirements does not guarantee USB compatibility.

Additional software
Optio 550 and Optio 450 comes complete with its own CD-ROM. This not only contains a USB driver, but also features the popular ACDSee™ application which is compatible with both Windows and Mac systems.

Multilingual operation
Convenient multilingual operation allows all menus and messages to be displayed in English, French, German, Spanish, Italian, or Japanese.

# # #

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